Monday, 5 March 2007

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?

An anonymous response to "Do you feel like you know enough?" that points out the authority of a war reporter as "the only window" to the world of war made me think of Janet Cooke, one of the most famous journalists found to have fabricated stories.

Cooke won a Pulizer Prize for her story "Jimmy's World", which appeared in the Washington Post in September 1980. When it was discovered that the story was fraudulent Cooke resigned and the prize was returned. More recently Jack Kelley a correspondent for USA Today was found to have fabricated around 100 stories including an account of a high-speed hunt for Osama bin Laden in 2003.

Famed sociologist Jean Baudrillard wrote a controversial and widely misunderstood book entitled The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. He believed in hyperreality which is a postmodern concept explaining that everything we experience second hand (i.e. through television, writing, photographs or word of mouth) never really existed.

Anything that is reported to the public is merely a reproduction of what was experienced, we must trust journalists to present an accurate account of what it is that they see.

Jack Kelley is Exposed
Report on Janet Cooke's prize winning tale